Virginia Beach nonprofit holding a virtual ‘race’ to raise awareness about human trafficking

The Virginia Beach nonprofit group EnJEWEL is holding a “virtual” walk/run Saturday through Wednesday to

The Virginia Beach nonprofit group EnJEWEL is holding a “virtual” walk/run Saturday through Wednesday to promote the United Nation’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Thursday.

EnJEWEL, which stands for Equality and Justice for Every Woman Every Land, started more than a decade ago to raise awareness about human trafficking, which includes sex slaves, forced labor on farms and in sweatshops.

With the virtual fundraiser, participants can register at and receive a printable runner’s bib via email. Registration is $30.

Participants need to log 5 kilometers through walking, running (including on a treadmill) and have a witness sign the bib stating that they completed the goal. They will upload a photo or video of the bib to EnJEWEL’s Facebook page. Those who complete the 5K will receive a T-shirt and baller or runner’s wrist band.

People are also asked to record themselves in short videos stating why they are running to stop human trafficking. A collage of the videos and a map of where people did their running or walking will play of EnJewel’s Facebook page on the 30th.

People who don’t want the exercise can promote the cause by wearing or displaying a royal blue ribbon, which is part of the UN’s Blue Heart Campaign.

Naomi Estaris, a Virginia Beach businesswoman who founded EnJEWEL, said the fundraiser was originally planned as a run/walk at Mount Trashmore on Thursday but was canceled because of the pandemic. The online nature of the event, however, allows people from around the world to participate and spread the word. So far, runners and walkers from Australia, Guam, Brazil and Hawaii signed up.

“This will be a great opportunity to share and educate people and will make a difference,” she said.

Proceeds will benefit the local organization The Butterfly House, which provides shelter for female victims of sex trafficking. Funds will also go to Regeneration International, which is building a home in the Philippines for boys rescued from trafficking, and Talking Hands, which works with deaf children in the Philippines.

Denise M. Watson, 757-446-2504,[email protected]


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